Subway failed because someone pushed the wrong button

New York’s subway shut down for five hours in August, stranding hundreds of passengers in tunnels and crippling transit across the city, because someone pushed the wrong button.

An unidentified worker pushed an “emergency power off” button on a power distribution unit within the system’s Rail Control Center, according to engineering firms HDR and WSP, hired by the state to investigate the Aug. 29 failure. 

Although utility Consolidated Edison Inc. experienced a momentary power interruption to the subway system at 8:25 p.m. at the start of the incident, that interruption only lasted milliseconds and could not, by itself, explain the subway’s failure, according to the firms. The button was

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